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Who doesn’t fall in love with Hoya kerrii? This sweetheart plant is sure to capture the hearts of many making it one of the top favorites of many plant owners. Famously known as hoya hearts, sweetheart plant, or sweetheart hoya, this vine is a perfect houseplant and gift for Valentine’s day.
If you’re thinking that Hoya kerrii’s leaves are the most adorable thing it possesses, wait until it blooms. The flowers are really aromatic making them a good source of fragrances for perfumes. Now if you’re wondering how this plant survives indoors, here are quick facts you need to know about Hoya kerrii care:
- Scientific Name: Hoya kerrii
- AKA: Hoya hearts, Sweetheart Plant, Sweetheart, Hoya, Valentine Hoya
- Similar to: Hoya cumingiana
- Native to: Southeast Asia
- Shape: Heart-shaped leaves
- Maximum Size: 4 meters high (around 13 feet)
- Watering Requirements: Less (every 2 to 3 weeks)
- Light Requirements: Bright direct to indirect light
- Preferred Humidity: High
- Preferred Temperature: 65 to 80°F (18 to 27°C)
- Soil or Potting Medium: Mixture of bark, perlite, sand, and soil
- Fertilizer: Feed once a month with liquid fertilizer
- Propagation Method: Cuttings
- Toxicity: Non-toxic to pets and humans
- Vulnerable to: Mealybugs, aphids
Overview of Hoya Kerrii
The Hoya kerrii is native to the Southeast Asian part of the world. Particularly, they were originally found in Thailand, China, Cambodia, Laos, South Vietnam, North-Western Thailand, and Indonesia (Java). Some of us mistake this hoya for a single leaf that we mostly see on sale, however, they are naturally vines that climb up.
This hoya plant can grow up to 4 meters high (13 ft) if left in the wild. That’s why you need to provide a trellis when it’s potted and you may also shape it the way you want. Only the hoyas left to grow as vines will produce small flowers and not the single leaf hoya.
A Hoya kerrii plant can be left even for a month without water. It has fleshy leaves like that of a succulent which can store up water. Once or twice a month watering should be enough because it is tolerant to drought.
The best time to water is when the soil gets dry. Pour water into the pot until it is fully saturated. Do this around five times allowing a few minutes of interval. Just make sure to drain all excess water to prevent your hoya from developing root rot.
It’s important to do deep watering every time so the plant gets to store enough water. It also helps the hoya plant grow extensive roots for better anchorage and absorption of moisture and nutrients.
This sweetheart hoya plant can thrive in places where there’s bright direct to indirect light. It means that it will do good inside your home given there’s a generous amount of light present. This type of light condition is favorable for Hoya kerrii to maintain its green leaves and produce those lovely and fragrant flowers.
A location near a window is ideal. If sunlight gets too intense, you may put a sheer curtain in between to protect your hoya from scorching. As much as possible, avoid putting the plant under very low light conditions.
Humidity & Temperature Preferences
High humidity is required for Hoya to thrive since it’s a tropical plant. It will speed up its growing process. Sometimes, this can be a struggle especially if your place gets dry air most often. The trick is to place it in a location where humidity is usually high like that of the shower room or the kitchen.
Your Hoya will do best within a temperature range of 65 to 80°F (18 to 27°C). It’s best to avoid drastic changes in temperature to prevent damage to the plant.
Plant Food and Potting Media
A well-draining potting medium is a must for your Hoya kerrii. A good combination of orchid bark, perlite, sand, and soil will create a porous mixture. This structure is favorable for the plant because it drains water easily. Remember, root rot can easily kill plants especially those who have succulent-like characteristics.
Feeding your Hoya kerrii is not a tedious job because this plant requires a very minimal amount of fertilizer. You can feed the plant with a water-soluble fertilizer once a month. Make sure to dilute the concentration to a quarter to avoid overfertilizing the plant.
If your kerrii hoya is a single leaf, feeding should only be done twice a year at most. Single leaf hoyas don’t need much fertilizer because they will stay as they are, meaning, they won’t grow to become vines.
Following is an additional guide on how to maintain your hoyas.
Since this sweetheart plant is a vine, it can get a little out of hand especially if you’re not putting on a trellis. At this point, you’ve got to prune the part of the stem that seems out of proportion. Cut it back down to its node to achieve the kind of shape you want the plant to have.
Hoya kerrii will normally produce a sticky sap at the cut portion. Those heart-shaped leaves that are discolored and diseased should be pruned as well. This will allow for new leaves to grow and flourish.
Remember not to cut the peduncle. This is the portion where the flowers of your valentine hoya emerge. Leave that out because it will be the same location where new flowers will bloom the next year.
Hoya kerrii is a slow grower so it won’t need repotting until a few years have passed. Some growers don’t feel the need to transfer it to a larger container. However, the substrate gets depleted so what you can do is change the potting medium with fresh ones.
Remove the hoya from its pot. Shake off the existing soil until the roots are exposed. Trim down the dead roots and leaves only the healthy ones.
Prepare a new potting mix preferably the one sterilized. If you’re using the same pot, make sure to clean and disinfect it first. Pot the hoya using the new potting mix and water it deeply.
For sure, another goal you have in mind is to multiply that heart-shaped ornamental. Don’t worry because propagating a Hoya kerrii is rather easy. All you need is to cut a mature stem with one to two nodes and plant it in a new soil mix.
The cutting will develop their own roots after some time. New growth will appear once the roots are established. Ensure high humidity during this process to hasten the rooting and growing of the newly propagated hoya plant.
Others propagate a hoya using leaf cuttings because of its fancy heart shape. That’s also allowable if you only want to have the single leaf and not the vine. Just don’t expect the leaf to grow further as it will remain the same even after years of caring.
Pests and Diseases
Hoyas are tough plants and will not be severely affected by pests. However, mealybugs may sometimes thrive on the leaves. The flowers that produce sweet nectar may also invite aphids.
To manage these pests, you may spray them off with water or horticultural oils. Most of the time, they will cease reproducing. Just make sure to check from time to time so you get to manage them immediately.
Luckily, this sweetheart plant does not produce any toxic compound either in its leaves or stem. It’s a perfect houseplant especially if you own pets at home. You don’t have to worry that it will cause trouble for their health as well as yours.
Another thing to love about the sweetheart plant is that it has other varieties you can choose from. Growing them are practically the same as the care tips mentioned above.
H. kerrii “Sweetheart”
It’s the Hoya kerrii that is the most common. It has solid green-colored leaves. It’s the classic choice for
H. kerrii “Splash”
This variety has green leaves that are splashed with small white streaks. The added variation in color makes it more fancy and attractive.
H. kerrii “Albomarginata”
If you’re looking for a variegated Hoya kerrii, then opt for this cultivar. The edges of its leaves are outlined with yellow while the center remains green in color. Albomarginata is bolder in appearance.
How long does it take for a Hoya kerrii to grow?
Given the growing conditions are good, a newly planted H. Kerrii will develop new growth after a few months. Although naturally, this plant is a slow grower compared to other plants so don’t expect too much.
New leaves will sprout in months as well as the stems will grow in length. It almost has the same behavior as orchids because they’re both epiphytes. Just be patient in giving care such as bright light, just enough moisture, high humidity, and will not disappoint you.
Is Hoya kerrii a succulent?
H. kerrii is considered a tropical succulent vine. It has fleshy leaves that store moisture serving as a reservoir for future plant use. Like the other succulent plants, it requires very little watering.
It will survive drought conditions without getting hurt. It’s a perfect choice for plant owners who are too busy to devote time to regular watering.
Does Hoya kerrii like humidity?
This vine plant is native to tropical and subtropical places. Thus, it’s accustomed to an environment having high humidity around. The condition favors the growing process of the plant.
When sufficient humidity is given, new leaves will develop easily. The cutting during propagation will produce roots when the condition is highly humid. If the air is too dry, your plant will be stunted and unhealthy.
With practically lesser effort to spend on care and maintenance, H. kerrii will not only add beauty to your home but will also make your life easier. This plant is ready to reward you with heart-shaped leaves as well as sweet, aromatic blooms for years.
So, what are you waiting for? Go grab a pot or two of this lovely plant from your local garden stores.